“Defending Potential” to help at-risk kids


WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU ) – Some children struggle to realize their full potential due to circumstances beyond their control. Eyewitness News Reporter Mark Hiller explains how a child mentoring organization that helps kids be all they can be is driving home that message in a new way.
Big, bold black and green colors are just part of the new branding for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Jenna Sargent Thorn who is the program manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bridge said, “You know, it’s our job to defend.” The organization’s Community Resource Development Coordinator Alan K. Stout added, “It’s our job to guide them and realize that potential.” 

That’s exactly why Big Brothers Big Sisters which has been helping at-risk children nationwide for decades adopted the new slogan ‘Defending Potential’. Ms. Sargent Thorn said, “We want to build off all the great things that our children already have and help to defend those things.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bridge in northeastern Pennsylvania hopes the rebranding will help solve a big problem. It’s currently mentoring more than 160 children but has nearly 300 kids on a waiting list. Mr. Stout said, “Where we go from here is to just maintain the relentless effort to try to find the children on our waiting list these matches.”

While Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteers are as young as 16 and still in high school, there really is no cap to the age of someone who wants to be a ‘Big’. Besides working for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bridge, Ms. Sargent Thorn is a Big Sister to a 17-year-old girl in the Poconos. While more women are wanted as mentors, she said there’s an even greater need that exists. “We need Big Brothers so terribly bad and we think that this (branding) might hit home for some of the Big Brothers out there.” Mr. Stout added, “One of the things that we do hear the most from our volunteers is that they get just as much out of it as the child, that it’s an incredibly rewarding experience for them.” Building bridges in the community: one mentored pairing at a time. 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bridge will also transition to a new, modern nationwide technology system and participate in new training.

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